Associated Labor Unions (ALU-TUCP) expresses grave alarm and apprehension on the opening for bidding of the porter services at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA). “Such, we fear, may displace a long-time and valued porter service provider and relegate our very own hardworking and dedicated members of the Mactan Airport Porters Association (MAPA-ALU-TUCP) amid price spikes and increased joblessness in the country,” said ALU-TUCP National President Michael Mendoza.
“We strongly remind the management that porters are not nameless and faceless. They are not mere cogs in a machine. For more than half a century now, MAPA-ALU-TUCP porters have been honestly and competently serving Cebu, from the then-Lahug Airport to the now-MCIA. Their jobs should not be put at risk, neither should they just be casually cast aside,” reminded the ALU official.
Around two hundred (200) MAPA-ALU-TUCP porters work at the MCIA. “They are part of the reason that the airport is a safe, comfortable, and welcoming gateway to Cebu and the entire Central Visayas. Thanks in part to their six decades of service and sacrifice, the MCIA was the first airport in the Philippines to receive the Airport Customer Experience Accreditation from the Airports Council International. This is a sterling testament to the long-proven integrity of the porters as well as their merit. This debunks unfair and unfounded rumors only meant to slander honest and hardworking porters just trying to earn an honest living,” argued ALU President Mendoza.
The GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation is scheduled to award the winning bidder on 20 November 2023. ALU-TUCP therefore urges the management to cease the bidding, and to retain MAPA-ALU-TUCP’s sixty (60) years of quality service. “Instead of starting from scratch by entering into a new venture agreement with another third-party service provider, it is only right and just that we build on the loyal commitment, institutional memory, and the positive customer feedback to the MAPA-ALU porters. This is good for the porters, good business for the management, and good service to all passengers going through our airport,” said Mendoza.
The appeal of the porters to save their jobs comes at a time when job security is of utmost importance amid heightened unemployment and underemployment. According to the September 2023 Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Labor Force Survey, unemployment increased to 4.5% while underemployment, although decreasing to 10.7%, has remained in double digits for far too long already. These translate to more than 2 million Filipinos out of job while more than 5 million have a job, yet are still seeking additional hours of work or another job because their current earnings, eroded by inflation, cannot feed their families with nutritious meals and provide them with a decent life.
The ALU labor federation to which the porters are affiliated has been urging the management to be true to its social and moral responsibility to never jeopardize the lives and livelihood of their very own porters. In turn, the porters are committing to continue their hard work in social partnership with the management. ALU-TUCP has been underscoring to officials that the success of the MCIA is also due to the efficiency, honesty, and adaptability of its current porterage service.
ALU-TUCP has also been long vigilant of the ill effects of privatization of public services, especially water and power, spearheaded by sky-is-the-limit prices and still-unreliable supply that continues to plunge working families deep into the vicious cycle of poverty.
“Our call to the management is to seize this win-win opportunity of retaining MAPA-ALU-TUCP porters, that will enable them to feed their families nutritious meals and give them a decent life, while at the same time upholding the Mactan-Cebu International Airport as one of the best airports here and elsewhere,” added ALU President Mendoza.